August 6, 2013 by Robert Wascher
Filed under A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, Alzheimer's disease, Fitness, Healthy Aging, Nonagenarians, Physical Fitness, Weekly Health Update, aging, brain health, cognitive function, dementia, elderly, health, memory, physical activity
A new public health study finds that today’s nonagenarians enjoy much better health than their predecessors.
90 IS THE NEW 60
As I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, we are rapidly growing older as a population. As our population continues to age, a record number of men and women are now surviving into their ninth and tenth decades of life. Unfortunately, though, super-elderly men and women are highly prone to significant physical and cognitive frailty. However, a fascinating new public health study from Denmark suggests that today’s nonagenarians (people who are in their 90s) may be far healthier, both physically and mentally, than their predecessors. This public health study appears in the current issue of the journal The Lancet.
In this study, 2,262 men and women born in 1905, and aged 93, were compared with a second group of research volunteers. The second group of volunteers consisted of 1,584 men and women born in 1915, all of whom were 95 years old. Both groups of research volunteers underwent testing of both their physical fitness levels and their cognitive (brain) function levels. The findings of this study were quite intriguing.
One interesting finding of this innovative study was that men and women born in 1915 had a 28 percent greater chance of surviving to age 93 than people born just 10 years earlier (i.e., in 1905), while the likelihood of reaching one’s 95th birthday was 32 percent higher for folks born in 1915 compared to those born in 1905.
Another interesting finding was that the 95 year-old volunteers born in 1915 scored significantly higher on cognitive (brain) function tests than the younger (93 year-old) volunteers born in 1905.
While the group of volunteers born in 1905 had similar levels of physical fitness as the volunteers born in 1915, the 95 year-old volunteers born in 1915 reported higher levels of daily physical activity at home when compared with their 93 year-old counterparts born in 1905.
In view of concerns about the frailty that often comes with advanced age, the findings of this study offer hope that future super-elderly senior citizens may enjoy a much higher level of both physical and cognitive function than their predecessors. As our population continues to grow ever older, the findings of this study may prove to be of considerable importance.
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According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent. A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers. If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.
Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity
Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author
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